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Healthy, Delicious Banana Bread: Look No Further

I don’t know about your fruit bowl, but ours is regularly and inevitably graced with several overripe bananas at any given time. We are a household of picky banana eaters. Once they are past perfect, they are summarily ignored.

Lucky for us, Jonah has taken up the cause by perfecting this fantastic banana bread recipe over the last few years. Chock full of healthy ingredients, low in sugar, absolutely moist and delicious, it is always a treat and perfect for an afternoon snack. Try it out – it never lasts long around our house!

Of course what I appreciate most is how quick and easy this recipe is. In no time, these:

mixed with a few ingredients, including:

become:

You combine with:

And end up with this!

Preparation

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter OR 1/4 cup butter plus 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup mashed bananas ( 2 ripe bananas)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole yogurt
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (or split between whole wheat and white flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 walnuts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Optional: 1/4 cup flax seeds, 1/2-1 cup diced apples

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt) into a medium-sized bowl, sifting if desired. Using a mixer, cream butter, applesauce (if using) and sugar until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla and bananas. Add dry ingredients and yogurt in batches, about 1/3 of each at a time. Be careful not to overmix! Now throw in whatever combination of “mix-ins” you like – this is where the chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, flax seeds, etc., come in. Mix gently and transfer into buttered bread pan.

Bake for about 1 hour, with a serious caveat: check using a toothpick at the 50 minute mark, as it is often done early. The bread is ready if the toothpick comes out very slightly moist, but it shouldn’t have any batter sticking to it. Be sure not to over-bake, it will dry out the banana bread and compromise the result.

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Quick and Easy Whole Grain Yogurt Pancakes

My husband and I are in a food preparation sharing rhythm these days that leaves me in charge of dinner most nights while he covers breakfast. Breakfast is not usually a fancy affair in our house, but we do favor doing a hot meal in the mornings, and tend to make something different each day of the week. Don’t ask me how we got into this “what do you want for breakfast today” mess because I often find myself envying friends who make the same dishes every morning and avoid the paralysis of choice, 4 and 8-year old style.But we are where we are.

The other detail to this fine tale is that my husband travels quite a bit, which means I am not home free in the breakfast department by any stretch. Yet in recent months, he’s been away less than usual. So when I found myself up at 7AM on a recent Monday morning facing two hungry kids, very little time to spare, and totally out of my routine, I knew something had to be done.

That something involved figuring out a simple pancake recipe that both girls would eat. You see, Talia is essentially on a self-imposed Atkins diet but doesn’t like eggs, so breakfast is generally a bit of a nightmare for us/her. And I’m not a huge fan of doughy pancakes, from a texture standpoint and because Ava generally has a better day with a protein-packed breakfast. All of this context, coupled with the general realization that we never have buttermilk in the house on a regular basis, inspired this recipe.Whole grains, yogurt, eggs, it’s a lovely combo in one lacey, golden package. Most importantly for busy families, you can set up the batter in no time the night before, and use it straight from the fridge to make super quick and delicious pancakes even on a weekday morning.

Try it out. Tell me what you think. And most of all, enjoy!

Preparation

Serves 4 (it doubles beautifully for more servings)

Heat 12″/large skillet or griddle on medium high heat. Preheat oven to 200° if you need to keep the finished pancakes warm.

In the meantime, gently combine in a bowl the following ingredients:

  1. 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (this is a good time to use a coarser whole wheat flour if you have any on hand)
  2. 1/3 cup fine cornmeal
  3. 1/4 tsp, kosher salt
  4. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  5. 1 tsp. baking powder
  6. 2 tsp. sugar
  7. 1 cup plain yogurt (preferably full fat) or vanilla, maple, etc.
  8. 1 beaten egg
  9. 2 tbsp. melted butter
  10. orange zest, lemon zest, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla as desired, or not

Melt a bit of butter into pan (enough to cover the bottom but not so much that it pools). Ladle 1/4 cup or just less of batter per pancake. A 12″ pan should hold 4.

Flip when you see bubbles forming on top, when the edges are set and when the bottom is golden and lacy (you’ll need to peek to figure that out). These are fairly delicate pancakes on account of the low flour content so be gentle when you flip. I found using a slotted spatula to be an excellent tool for the task, if you happen to have one around. (Frankly, I could throw out all other spatulas and just use this one for all tasks, it’s that good).

Serve alongside an egg and/or with your favorite toppings. Our favorite these days is with yogurt and maple syrup on top.